Olympics

Lewis Johnson says the 2020 Olympic Trials are the culmination of a tough year-plus

Olympics

After a year of racial unrest, a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic and other challenges, the United States' best athletes will step foot in new Hayward Field in Eugene, OR to qualify for the Olympic Games in Toyko, Japan.

NBC Sports broadcaster Lewis Johnson joined Talkin' Ducks this week and said the trials will be the culimination of a trying year fueled with delays and other challenges.

"First we have to step back and look at the big picture on what we've gone through in our country," said Johnson.

"First of all the pandemic and what that did to everyone's plans for 2020. Just their plans, their livelihoods, what have you. And then the racial unrest in this country is also connected to that for a particular community, the one that I live in as a Black man, it has been an unbelievable journey to get through this year."

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast]

A father himself, Johnson said that past year created additional stress in his life.

"Those of us who have children, sons, daughters, it has been an extended challenge to make sure they stay safe mentally and physically. And I say that because most of the athletes that I will be in front of, that the people will be seeing at home, are the ages of our sons, 26 and 24, who have had to navigate COVID, the racial unrest and all these things are kind of connected together."

 

For some, the extra time may have been put to good use. For others, it's another year past their physical primes.

"The dream delayed may have been good for some people and could have been a disaster for others. 

"All of that is going to come to a culmination on that track as people try to make the team so that has to be the major undercurrent storyline people should never forget is what every athlete had to go through to get to this point. 

"Now you still need to be in the top-3 of the trials to be on the hardest team to make on the planet."

Good luck to all the American athletes this weekend!